Class I railroads file updated weekly status reports

By Erin Voegele | December 11, 2014

BNSF Railway Co. has reported it held only four ethanol unit trains and 105 grain unit trains short of designation or scheduled interchange for longer than six hours during the week ending Dec. 6. Canadian Pacific Railway reported six ethanol unit trains and six grain unit trains were held short of destination or scheduled interchange for longer than six hours during the week.

BNSF reported a system average train speed for ethanol unit trains of 21.4 miles per hour (mph) for the week. The system average train speed for grain units was 21.7 mph. BNSF reported a system average terminal dwell time, excluding cars on run through trains, of 27.5 hours. According to BNSF, it had 251,658 cars on the line during the week, including 56,807 tank cars. The weekly average dwell time at origin was 9.3 hours for ethanol unit trains and 11.9 hours for grain unit trains. BNSF reported 149 loaded ethanol cars in revenue service and 135 empty ethanol cars in revenue service had not moved in more than 120 hours. For grain cars, it was 679 and 865, respectively. The railroad also reported that 913 loaded ethanol cars in revenue service, 895 empty ethanol cars in revenue service, 2,808 loaded grain cars in revenue service and 2,046 empty grain cars in revenue service had not moved in 120 to 48 hours.

Canadian Pacific reported a system average train speed of 17.5 mph for ethanol unit trains and 20.7 mph for grain unit trains. The weekly average terminal dwell time, excluding cars on run through trains, was 24.2 hours. Canadian Pacific reported 33,943 cars on the line for the week, including 10,110 tank cars. The weekly average dwell time at origin for ethanol unit trains was 7.7 hours. For grain unit trains it was 20.5 hours. Canadian Pacific reported 10 loaded ethanol cars and 79 unloaded ethanol cars in revenue service had not moved in more than 120 hours, along with 48 loaded grain cars and 83 empty grain cars in revenue service. According to the railroad, 71 loaded ethanol cars in revenue service, 11 empty ethanol cars in revenue service, 314 loaded grain cars in revenue service and 128 empty grain cars in revenue service had not moved in 48 to 120 hours.

The Canadian National Railway Co., Chicago Transportation Coordination Office, CSX Transportation Inc., Kansas City Southern Railway Co., Norfolk Southern Corp., and Union Pacific Railway Co. also filed the weekly reports.

The STB took action to require these reports in in response to concerns raised at recent hearings, including one that featured testimony from two South Dakota-based ethanol producers. The concerns have primarily focused on the impact of poor and delayed service on the BNSF and CP railways.

The STB has indicated it currently intends to collect this data on a temporary basis. However, a rulemaking will be initiated in the near future to determine whether to institute permanent data reporting requirements on service performance. Full copies of the weekly service reports can be downloaded from the STB website here.